Friday 22nd February 2019

Event of the Day: Oklahoma City Thunder versus Utah Jazz

Our event of the day is the NBA fixture between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder find themselves in a comfortable position towards the top of the Western Conference while the Jazz are in a fight to maintain a playoff place. This will be a tense match between two hungry teams so be sure you don’t miss it. The Thunder find themselves third in the Western Conference. With a record of 37-20, they are four games back from the first place Golden State Warriors and three games ahead of the fourth place Portland Trail Blazers. This leaves them in a very comfortable position as the season begins to approach the playoffs. The team is 8-2 in their last ten games and are an intimidating force at their home arena, having gone 20-7 in front of their home crowd. Oklahoma City are once again led by the duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook. George is OKC’s leading scorer with 28.7 points and 2.3 steals per game while Westbrook has 21.7 points, 11.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. There are few partnerships in the NBA that can rival the bond between Westbrook and George, and the genuine support and camaraderie they share is one of the things that makes the pairing so dangerous. They are also a unique pairing, as they are not known for being a high-scoring duo like Shaq & Kobe, Magic & Kareem or MJ & Scottie Pippen. While they are OKC’s only 20+ points per game scorers this season, Westbrook and George shine with highly disruptive defensive play, specialising in the ‘take two’, scoring a two-point shot after a defensive steal. Now in the second year of their pairing, it might finally be the season where the Thunder finally win an NBA Finals. While they last reached the NBA finals in the 2011-12 season, they have not won it all since the 1978-79 season, when they played as the Seattle SuperSonics. Their opponents tonight find themselves in a less secure position in the Western Conference.

The Jazz are 6th, 9 games back from first and only 2 games ahead of the playoff cut-off. They are 6-4 in their last ten games and 14-15 on the road this season. However, they have made the conference semi-finals in the last two seasons despite a 5th place finish in the standings both years. This season, their star is 22-year-old Donovan Mitchell, a second year player they acquired on draft night in 2017, trading for him hours after he had been drafted by the Denver Nuggets. Mitchell leads the Jazz in scoring with 22.4 points per game. However, he is not the lone star for Utah. Ricky Rubio leads the team in assists and Rudy Gobert in the go-to rebound man, giving the Jazz a well-rounded, if underappreciated core. The Thunder are 2-0 against the Jazz this season and with this game a must-win to help the teams better secure their playoff aspirations, you won’t want to miss tonight’s match. 

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the second ODI between the West Indies and England at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. England continued their recovery from a 2-1 Test series loss to take the first ODI between the two sides on Wednesday. Despite 135 runs from Chris Gayle and an impressive total of 360 for 8, the West Indies were unable to contain Joe Root and Jason Roy, who both scored their second centuries of the week to lead England to a surprisingly comfortable victory. This second ODI matchup will be a tense affair as both sides fight to assert themselves in the five match series, so expect an exciting match. Elsewhere, in Ligue 1, Dijon host St-Étienne at Stade Gaston Gérard. On the PGA tour, the Puerto Rico Open continues at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club and the WGC-Mexico Championship moves into Day 2. In the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights host the Winnipeg Jets at T-Mobile Arena. In Super League, St Helens host Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium. On the WTA Tour, the Hungarian Ladies Open continues at the Europe Tennis Center in Budapest. 

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy! 


Photos by NBA 


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